Milwaukee Bucks: Why the Rodney Hood signing has hidden potential

Dec 10, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Following their title win, everyone understood the Milwaukee Bucks would not be big spenders during 2021 NBA Free Agency.

With so much money invested into their core players, the front office would not be left with much financial flexibility to work with. Instead, they have made several smaller moves like signing guard George Hill, adding defensive ace Semi Ojeleye, and even bringing back fan-favorite Bobby Portis. Yet, one of the moves that has been somewhat controversial is the signing of Rodney Hood.

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After he cleared waivers following his sudden release from the Toronto Raptors, it was reported that Hood intended to sign a one-year deal with the Bucks worth the veteran’s minimum.

Considering Hood is coming off the worst statistical season of his career, this move has not pleased many. However, this signing does have hidden potential that could be unearthed with the Bucks this coming season.

How Rodney Hood could get his career back on track with the Milwaukee Bucks

As mentioned, the 28-year-old Hood is coming off the least productive season of his career after splitting the year with the Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors. The swingman struggled to find his footing whatsoever by averaging 4.5 points while shooting 36.2 percent from the floor and 30.1 percent from behind the arc. Hood was just downright subpar, and a massive reason for that has been the recent injury history that has plagued him.

The most significant issue came early in the 2019-20 season after Hood tore his Achillies and missed significant time. After returning this past season, he understandably struggled to find a groove after such a catastrophic injury, made only worse as he battled through a nagging hip issue. Overall, Hood has only played in 76 regular season games over the past two years, which is far from ideal.

These recent injury concerns have been at the forefront of every fan’s mind after receiving the news that Hood would be signing with Milwaukee. That is certainly an understandable approach, which has made them skeptical. However, given that Hood signed on for the minimum, this move is rather low-risk. It is not surprising that teams were not willing to offer him more as these injuries have grown to be a prominent concern. However, it seems like the Bucks were willing to take the gamble by handing him a team-friendly deal that also has a potential high-reward outcome.

The first determining factor in any success the veteran sees with the Bucks will be his overall health, of course. If Hood has rehabilitated throughout the offseason and is ready to go from day one, that will be a good sign. He has battled extensively with injuries over the past two years, and barring any unforeseen setbacks, Hood is someone who could instantly carve out a role for himself in the rotation due to his high-octane scoring.

While his numbers from this past season are far from eye candy, Hood’s pre-injury numbers are what should truly captivate the team. The swingman averaged double-digit scoring in four of his first five seasons in the league prior to these two devastating injuries, which helped him earn his place in the league. He was a walking double-digit scorer that played key roles for several teams. Although the Bucks will not be getting pre-injury Rodney Hood, he should be healthy entering this season and the guy knows how to score the basketball. With a chip on his shoulder, could Hood have a bounce-back season? He will certainly try, and the team already has a spot for him to fill.

With the team losing Bryn Forbes to the San Antonio Spurs in free agency, they will need to find a replacement to replicate his scoring punch off the bench. Aside from Bobby Portis, Hood is one name that could help bolster Milwaukee’s second unit scoring numbers. Shooting 36.7 percent from the outside for his career, Hood is also a solid 3-point shooter. He will fit in lineups alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and practically anyone on this roster to help space the floor.

On paper, Hood seems like a great fit for the Bucks, and that is because he is. His scoring and shooting capabilities will be a massive boost when the team’s offense begins stalling, which was oftentimes an issue last year. Hood can score at will, but the biggest question is if he can stay healthy enough to consistently prove it. If so, Hood could eventually end up being yet another under-the-radar signing by general manager Jon Horst that pays dividends down the road.

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Sure, there might be some hopeful optimism sprinkled in there throughout, but the potential is there for Hood and the Bucks to work out.